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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 630: summary

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An archaeological evaluation by trial-trenching on land to the north of the abbey precinct wall, St John's Green, Colchester, Essex - December 2011
by Howard Brooks, Ben Holloway
(with contributions from Robert Masefield, Stephen Benfield)

Date report completed: February 2012
Location: land to the north of the abbey precinct wall, St John's Green, Colchester, Essex
Map reference(s): TL 9971 2476 (c)
File size: 1,449 kb
Project type: Archaeological evaluation by trial-trenching
Significance of the results: *
Keywords: Roman, pits, ditches

Summary. Two evaluation trenches were dug just outside the site of the medieval precinct of St John's abbey. They were located next to St John's Green on a narrow strip of land bounded along its southern side by the remains of part of the medieval wall which enclosed the abbey precinct. The investigation revealed a few Roman features (two narrow ditches and three pits) and three modern features including a substantial pit. No medieval features or finds were found, most of the finds being Roman. The Roman pits and ditches indicate that there had been Roman-period occupation in the general vicinity of the trenches, and building materials of the same date from the trenches suggest that this had focussed around a substantial Roman building of some kind. This had mortared foundations if not mortared walls and at least one tessellated floor. This conclusion is reinforced by the absence in the trenches of any evidence for burials. Occupation in this part of the Roman town rather than burial is in accord with similar evidence found during the investigations in 2007, a short distance to the south of the trenches within the site of the abbey precinct (CAT Report 405). Nevertheless, the overall picture of the area in the Roman period is of one dominated by the circus and burial plots and cemeteries.